foam

txOom

The word txOom is an amalgam of “texture” and “bloom.” As a part of txOom, we produced two environments which were thick, malleable and layered as a texture, elegant and responsive as a bloom. Designed as imaginary ecosystems, txOom spaces “feed” on the bodily movement of the players. The kinetic energy that players’ movement generates is “recycled” into sounds, light and visual textures, rendering effects of movement visible in the space in which the movement happens. The turbulent gush of air generated by a vigorous jump, or small swirls of wind sent across from one person to another in an animated conversation; these otherwise imperceptible airflows are amplified until they become visible and audible. Movement is not just a propelling force, but a generative force - it gives form and behaviour to the simulated life-forms in txOom’s irreal ecosystem.

Using active materials and digital media, we are able to magnify, camouflage and influence the players’ gestures. These gestures are captured, analysed and interpreted by tiny sensing, computing and communication devices embedded in the players’ costumes. The movement is translated into digital signals able to influence the generation of rich streams of audiovisual media. The media are projected in the play-space and experienced in real-time. txOom environments evolve through perpetual cycles of influence – garments influence movement, which generates the media that define the space, and this inspires movement, which ruffles the garments, which stretches the space…

To design this imaginary ecosystem we were inspired by biological forms, as well as cultural phenomena. As with the growth of biological organisms, shaped by internal needs and external pressures, so is the the form and experience of txOom guided by its inhabitants, as well as the context in which they are placed - be it a circus, a gallery, or a horse stable.

txOom was a collaboration with four European organisations (Time’s Up, Kibla, Interactive Institute and Future Physical) and several independent artists, between 2002 and 2003.

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